I already posted one poem by Chesterton on the subject of flooding earlier this year, when parts of Memphis were underwater. I thought at the time that one would be good enough, and that there couldn’t possibly be another occasion where more flooding would require more commentary. I assumed that high water marks had reached their high water mark. Now, however, I learn that the Souris River in North Dakota is going nuts and that the residents of the town of Minot will have to move. Hence I find myself once more flipping through Chesterton’s works to find something about floods. As it happens, Chesterton’s own home in the London neighborhood of Battersea was flooded in 1908, and he had this to say about it.
So I do not think that it is altogether fanciful or incredible to suppose that even the floods in London may be accepted and enjoyed poetically. Nothing beyond inconvenience seems really to have been caused by them; and inconvenience, as I have said, is only one aspect, and that the most unimaginative and accidental aspect of a really romantic situation. An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered. The water that girdled the houses and shops of London must, if anything, have only increased their previous witchery and wonder. For as the Roman Catholic priest in the story said: “Wine is good with everything except water,” and on a similar principle, water is good with everything except wine. – G. K. Chesterton, On Running After One’s Hat